Earlier today Dallas attorney, J.J. Koch, filed a petition to have a jury hear the case on the removal of Dallas County Elections Administrator from her elected office. This comes on the heels of WFAA breaking a story last week that Toni Pippins-Poole, the Dallas Elections Administrator, was shaking down the county’s vendors for cash. In that story, they share various communications where Pippins-Poole is pressuring vendors to “sponsor” various activities she is involved in. One vendor replied asking where to send the cash, in the past they simply gave it to Toni. Read More
The Office of the Attorney General of Texas announced a third investigation in Nueces County. The Nueces County Clerk, Kara Sands, filed a complaint with the AG’s office regarding various election irregularities in the local municipal elections. Interestingly enough, similar to Tarrant County, the election which triggered the complaints was a water board election. That complaint has now resulted in three active criminal investigations.
I was honored to work alongside Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands during both the regular and special sessions on election reform bills. Kara was a pivotal stakeholder in getting SB5 and other bills through the Texas House and ultimately to be signed by the governor. She was instrumental in getting county clerks and election administrators on board for various aspects of the reforms, including the controversial repeal of the nursing home bill. She has seen first hand the results of these policies on the ground and knows how we need to secure our elections.
A news report of the most recent investigation in Nueces County can be seen HERE.
The OAG’s active investigations in Nueces County include both in person fraud as well as mail in ballot fraud.
With the passage of SB5, the addition of organized election fraud to the State RICO statute and other reforms passed this session, we are hopeful that over the next few years we can finally put an end to these types of activities.
The special session is nearing an end and the Governor’s call for increased penalties for mail in voter fraud has stalled in the House in the form of HB 184.
There is a lot of discussion, driven largely by our office, as to the differences between HB184 by Goldman and HB47 by Schofield. We are fighting FOR HB184;, let me tell you why.
First, let me back up and discuss something that happened during regular session. The TX Legislature passed a bill we now refer to as the “nursing home” bill. This flew under the radar and was added at the last minute as an amendment. This bill opens up every nursing home in Texas to ballot harvesting. It creates an unfunded mandate on every county, and many, many other problematic details. The Democrat party has been bragging about getting this bill passed. One party official even bragged that the Dem party has already calculated this bill will get them nearly 300,000 additional harvested ballots. They did the math;, they wrote the bill;, they got it passed. THIS IS A VERY BIG PROBLEM. This week over 100 county election administrators signed a letter opposing this legislation.
The main difference between HB184 and HB47, both as amended, is that HB184 FULLY REPEALS the nursing home bill. Let me be clear – the “nursing home” bill is flawed at every level, it cannot be “fixed”, but must be repealed. HB47 naively attempts to patch the “nursing home” bill. This is like trying to fix Obamacare. Repeal and Replace is the only viable choice. This difference alone is worth the fight.
Aside from that, HB184 differentiates itself from HB47 in several ways., I’ll list some of them here:
HB184 prohibits electronic signatures on applications and carrier envelopes. HB47 does not.
HB184 requires original copy of applications, no more faxed or emailed mail in applications. HB47 does not.
HB184 adds preservation of ballot materials including canceled ballots and a mandatory reporting to the AG’s office. This is vital to track and document fraud for the long term elimination of it. HB47 does not.
HB184 includes voter impersonation penalties for using a mail in ballot., HB47 does not.
HB184 clarifies that the two signatures on the application and carrier envelope must both be that of the voter, not just match. HB47 does not.
HB184 adds liability to ballot board members who accept invalid signatures. HB47 does not.
HB184 adds new wording to Sec 276.013 of the election code which defines voter fraud more clearly and gives law enforcement the tools they need to go after violators
HB184 simply covers more detail and stitches up the existing problems in a more solid manner. This is largely due to the fact that HB184 was written by a team: from the AG’s office, to Rep. Goldman’s office, Governor’s office, Sen. Hancock’s office and others. HB47 has 9 sponsors, while HB184 has 81 Authors and Co-Authors. 81!
HB184 is the better bill. The clock is running out.
Direct Action Texas went public with it’s Tarrant County vote harvesting investigation last October – a mere 8 months ago – and we’ve come a long way since then.
At the time, voter fraud was a thing of conspiracies, crazy talk. The main stream, respectable folk did not speak of such things. Fast forward to last Monday. I sat at Texas Public Policy Foundation’s policy orientation for the special session, and as I opened their handbook I found multiple pages dedicated to mail in ballot fraud policy. This is huge because TPPF has had a longstanding policy of not discussing or engaging in election law or reform. Now they have a published stance. Yesterday I watched as Chuck DeVore, Vice President of TPPF, testified on behalf of SB5, the voter fraud bill before the Senate. This is simply unprecedented.
At that same special session policy orientation, Governor Abbott gave the opening comments and mail in ballot fraud was a major part of his message. Out of all the issues facing Texas, Governor Abbott included mail in voter fraud among the 20 he felt deserved to be included in the special session. In a few short months this issue went from outside the mainstream to a priority of the Governor of Texas.
You see policies have a process they go thru. It looks something like this:
From Radical to Acceptable to Sensible to Popular to POLICY.
This process usually takes years. I sat in the Senate yesterday, a Sunday, on the threshold of this issue becoming policy and realized we went from Radical to Popular in a short 8 months. This is a reality because of voters in Dallas who came forward and said their votes were stolen just this last May. This is a reality because of hard work by folks at the Office of the Attorney General. This is a reality because voters and activists made it a priority to their elected officials. Politicians don’t act on issues unless they believe there is enough pressure to use their political capital and receive a return on that capital.
We are almost there. SB5 passed the senate committee and will most assuredly be passed out of the chamber tomorrow. Meanwhile, watch HB184 as it proceeds thru the Texas House.
Texans made this issue a priority. For that I say – Well Done. Lets continue to the finish line.
May 24, 2017
Contact: Aaron Harris
RE: Election Reforms – Call a Special Session Now.
DAT Calls Out House for Killing All Serious Election Fraud Prevention Legislation
Requests Abbott seriously consider a special session to address blatant fraud in our system
(North Richland Hills, TX) Direct Action Texas sent a letter, signed by over 100 grassroots leaders across Texas, calling upon Governor Abbott to use his constitutional authority to force the House to address his priority which they have killed.
President of Direct Action Texas commented on the letter stating, “The grassroots were grateful for Governor Abbott speaking out on this issue, but now that the legislature has ignored his concerns it falls upon him to decide if reform occurs or not. I am grateful to stand with all of these leaders across Texas in asking the Governor to take action immediately.”